Ξ January 28th, 2010 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Uncategorized, WoW, data nerd, star trek |

The Dork
Believe it or not, it has occurred to me that I’m pretty dorky. I know. Between the hours a week I spend writing for a Star Trek RPG (yes, it’s measured in hours), my habit of muttering “failed reflex save” whenever I trip into or out of the conference room (because simply tripping in front of the executives isn’t quite the right kind of embarrassing), and the fact that I have my WoW raid schedule in my work calendar so no one schedules a server maintenance window they expect me to attend over the dragon-slaying, it took me a long time to come to the same shocking conclusion… but here we are. Pretty dorky.

Or rather, there we were.

I have realized today that I may have stepped away from the realm of “pretty dorky” and, if not entirely doused myself in, at least tested the waters of “Good god, what is wrong with you?” levels of dorky. Perhaps I’m even ascending ever closer to the tantalizing heights of the transdork threshold1.

What could possibly be dorkier than spending one’s free time writing for a Star Trek RPG and playing WoW?

It might just be worse than you can even imagine2.

The Meta-Dork
Have you ever wondered about the population variations between PvP and PvE realms? What the most popular gems are by class and spec? If the character gender distribution skews toward female for more attractive models? I have. So has zardoz, of recent WoW Insider fame. He has managed to collect a great deal of raw data and, between a little SQL and a dash of xsl, has started giving us some neat insights into population characteristics.

But beyond simple data collection and reporting…

Have you ever wondered about causality? Suspected anecdotally that there has been some sort of change to the population, proven or disproven by actual comparison to a baseline that such a change has actually occurred, and then wanted to dig deeper to identify possible causal relationships? A content patch? A major class modification? A critical change to PvP mechanics? Changes to gear scaling or stat mechanics?

Have you ever wondered what makes a world-class guild precisely that? Beyond the simple explanations – They’re better players. They raid more often. It’s a hardcore guild. – are there other behavioral traits that contribute to their success, traits we can actually tease out from the data about their players? How do members of a world-class guild spend their time in game? What is the temporal relationship between a dungeon/raid launch, the accumulation and dissemination of gear, and the receipt of achievements? How quickly do members change specs, gems, or gear following a significant mechanics change? Do gear, gem, stat, and build preferences vary greatly between functionally-analogous individuals within a class or are the same trends occurring between all? If it’s the latter, does it occur all at once, suggesting a much more structured, top-down guild management structure, or is there a waterfall effect between members, a more bottoms-up kind of view, with the changes occurring at the individual level before spreading over time to the rest of the group? If it’s the latter, are there individuals who consistently drive the changes, power-players we can identify simply through these relationships?

Given a spectrum of characteristics, some relevant and some not… have you wondered where your guild lies compared to the world-class ones? Have you wondered where you lie on that spectrum, compared to same-spec toons in those world-class guilds or sitting pretty on top of the PvP rankings? Which of those characteristics are relevant? Which are suggestive? Which are evocative?

Oh yes. I wonder about these things all the time.

And more than that, I wonder how I can answer these questions using nothing more than raw, clinical data. This is the good stuff, the holy grail hand grenade.

I’ve been mining both the Armory and Wowhead for quite some time3. We’ll see where this goes.

1. Or maybe I just need a new kind of dilithium.
2. Please just take my word on this and don’t even try. The Borg are still working on it.
3. I’ve actually been mining my Star Trek RPG for years too and there’s some great stuff there. (And maybe some not so great stuff. Do I really want to know why the writers on one ship in the fleet write proportionally more posts – we’re talking a statistically significant number of posts here – with their characters on the holodeck versus any other location? I’m not so sure I do…) But really, we’ll have to save that discussion for another day. There’s only so much dorkiness a single post can hold.

Original post by blah


  • Rumours and Lies